I stumbled across this article in The Seattle Times (I think SF writer Jay Lake had the link to it), and nearly a month later I still can't get it out of mind. Tattoo artist Roni Falgout has made a name for herself by creating art out of mastectomy scars.
Maybe it hits close to home because one of my great-grandmothers lost all of her siblings, including her brother, to breast cancer. (Yes, folks, guys can get it too!) Nearly ten years ago, I had my first lumpectomy (which thank the Goddess turned out to be nothing). A good friend lost her mother to this disease, long before my friend graduated from college, much less walked down the aisle or gave birth to her darling daughter.
We talk about breast cancer, only it's in terms of raising money for research. We rarely talk about the human cost of the disease. When my husband went through chemotherapy, we met a woman named Mary who was about the same age. Mary endured a double mastectomy and chemo in the hopes of seeing her girls grow up. As Mary remarked one to me one time, she only cried twice: once when she saw her post-surgical scars and once when her eyelashes fell out from the poison the doctor injected into her body once a week.
Sixteen years and several thousand miles later, I'd like to think Mary is attending her youngest daughter's college graduation. And maybe, underneath her proper cotton blouse, she has some of Roni's flowers.